The following is a guest post.
Running a small business isn’t easy. Lacking the vast resources and large staff of larger companies, it can be a real struggle to compete in today’s increasingly globalized market, especially as gigantic international conglomerates increase their market share and drive down their prices, forcing competitors out of business.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the 4 biggest challenges small businesses face, and talk about some simple solutions that can help mitigate these issues, and keep you competitive on a global market.
1. Cash Flow And Payment Issues
Large companies can stand to wait to send invoices, bill clients, and pay bills – they usually have a large amount of profit and cash stashed away, so having some minor cash flow problems isn’t an issue for them.
Not so for small business owners – even a single stalled payment or bounced check from a client can be the difference between keeping your doors open and going out of business.
One way to deal with this is with invoicing and accounting software – keeping schedules with reminders about invoices that are due is a great way to stay on top of the money you are owed, and using online invoicing services is a great way to help clients cough up what they owe, and keep you going.
2. Client Dependence
When you land a huge client as a small-business owner, it can be tempting to lavish them with care and attention over all of your other clients, or rely on them for most of the money which keeps your business afloat.
But this is a mistake – regardless of how good your relationship with a client is, it’s always possible that they will at some point, no longer need your services for any variety of reasons. Understanding this and being prepared for it is extremely important as a small business owner.
While diversifying and expanding your client pool may seem silly when you have a great client who pays on time, trust us – you’ll appreciate having the flexibility and other clients if the time comes when you must break with your larger client.
3. Finding The Right Employees – And Treating Them Right
While larger companies can often function well, even when not every employee pulls his/her own weight, small businesses can’t afford this – each and every employee in a small business must be dedicated and motivated. Part of ensuring this is finding the right employees. Never hire willy-nilly – you should always be sure that any new employee working with you is the right fit for the position. Never hire out of desperation, even if it seems like you really need another worker. It will come back to bite you if you hire the wrong person.
Treating your employees right is also important – a relaxed atmosphere where employees feel free to speak to you as a friend and a manager help create a good working environment, as do perks like free tea and coffee and benefits like parties, reasonable vacations, and good wages.
When you surround yourself with employees who love the company they work for and respect you as a person, you’ll find that your small business is capable of incredible things.
4. Tiredness and Overworking
Owning a small business is inherently personal – you built this company, you run this company, you love this company. It’s your baby, and it’s natural to be protective, and to try to do everything you can to make sure your company succeeds.
But this can also be problematic – what use is working for 16 hours a day if you’re sluggish, slow, and unproductive?
It’s important to pace yourself as a small business owner, and embrace strategic delegation. It can be tough to delegate important tasks – especially strategic tasks – to your employees. However, if you have built a relationship with your employees and have hired the right people, you should be able to have confidence knowing that you can take a day or two off, and your business will continue without you – and won’t come to a screeching halt.
These are certainly aren’t all of the problems that face small businesses – and many issues depend on the specifics of your business model, industry, and area of operation.
However, these four problems plague small business owners more than any others, and by following some of the simple advice put forth in this post, you’ll be amazed at how you and your small business are able to grow.
Author: Lovleen Soni
Lovleen is Co-founder and CTO at TopNotepad. With master in information technology and communication, she writes specifically about topics related to building a successful small business. Before co-founding TopNotepad she has built a few software applications as a freelancer for small businesses in the US and UK.